Sunday, December 1, 2013

Exhortation is Just a Red Herring

So, a comment on my previous post got me thinking a bit.  So let me put forth an assertion.

Exhortation is a Red Herring.

For the past few years there has been this back and forth over exhortation.  And then there's all these discussions of what is exhorted and how and all that.  There's even the idea of how we need to preach more like our fathers in the faith.

May I make a simple suggestion instead of worrying about exhortation or uses of the Law or anything like that?

Here you go.

"Textual 2nd Person Indicative Preaching"

As Preachers, we are not to be giving our own thoughts.  When we preach, we ought to be able to say, "Thus sayeth the Lord" - otherwise we've got no business preaching.  Thus, our preaching is to be textual.

But we are not dealing with abstractions.  We are not dealing with mere facts or ideas or trends.  We are sent to specific congregations... we are sent to say, "Thus sayeth the Lord to you."

2nd person.  This Law is speaking to you.  You are not to do this, you are to do this.  Atah ha-ish.  You are the man.

2nd person.  The Gospel is for you.  Christ has died for you.  He will raise you from the dead, and your own eyes will see and not another.

Indicative.  We preach what is real.  Your sin is real.  Your sorrows are real.  Your pain is real. Christ Jesus is real.  He has died, He has risen, and this is for you.  Christ has claimed you in baptism.  He gives you forgiveness and life in His Supper.

All indicative. No might, no may, no could... we aren't dealing with the optional - we are dealing with reality.  Indicative.

+ + + + + + + +

So there's my thoughts on preaching.  Stick with the text.  2nd person.  Indicative.

And all this other junk will take care of itself.


(Edit:  Probably need to add in Christological, as I tend to think the text is about Christ... but that's perhaps another discussion)


Anonymous said...

What you're teaching here is explicitly condemned in the Formula.

aletheist said...

Anonymous, could you please cite where in the Formula it condemns what Pastor Brown is advocating? Thanks in advance.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Brown is an antinomian.
Antinomian is Anti-Formula.

Ergo - I win!

Theology by name calling... er, nameless name calling =o)


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Just looking... I do not deny that folks learn from the Law.

And indeed, I'm all about making sure Christians receive "daily instruction and admonition, warning, and threatening of the Law in this life" as well as needing "frequent punishments." All to drive at the Old Man.

I also say that the "Holy Spirit uses the Law in order to teach the regenerate from it."

Does it say somewhere that we believe, teach, and confess that the Holy Spirit does not teach via the Law unless the Law is spoken as an exhortation?

Because... see, the point to the OP wasn't "DON'T EXHORT"... but rather the specific nuance of the Law is a red herring, or saying that some specific nuance must be done otherwise the Holy Spirit is hamstrung - that is off and wrong.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

"We reject and condemn the teaching that the Law, in the above mentioned way and degree, should not be urged on Christians and true believers, but only on the unbelieving, unchristians, and impenitent. This id a deadly error and harmful to Chrsitian discipline, and also to true godliness."

Where have I said that the Law is not to be preached to Christians? In fact, "2nd person. This Law is speaking to you. You are not to do this, you are to do this."

Sounds like preaching the Law to Christians to me.

Steve Martin said...

The law is written upon our hearts.

We already know what to do. We just flat our refuse to do it so much of the time.

We cannot "use" the law.

Only the Spirit can do that.

We Lutherans take the Law with deadly seriousness. So much so that know that it is "the ministry of death". It has it's purpose. We need it.

"Christ is the end of the law for all those who have faith."

That gospel Word trumps any law that ever was or will be.

Anonymous said...

I obviously don't think that the Law or our obedience to it sanctifies. Sanctification comes as a result of the gospel. The Law kills, but the Spirit gives life. But that doesn't negate the fact that we should tell and encourage Christians to do good works as part of our proclamation of the Law. Much of the encouragement to do good works, is an encouragement to fulfill our various vocations. Paul, the Confessions,Luther, Pieper, Walther, etc. all talk about encouraging people to do good works, and the Gospel as the sole means of sanctification. These are not mutually exclusive ideas.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Nameless -

Did you read the OP? I say the following should be done: "2nd person [preaching]. This Law is speaking to you. You are not to do this, you are to do this. Atah ha-ish. You are the man."

The point is that focusing the discussion on "we must exhort" MISSES the the fullness of what our preaching of the Law is to be.

Quit responding to strawmen here.